Sunday, August 20, 2006

Peanut butter cookies

So light and buttery...yum!

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the peanut butter mixture. Form dough into walnut sized balls and place them 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Dip a fork into flour and criss cross each cookie to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in oven preheated to 375 degrees until just lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for two minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Blackberry jam

This is the simplest jam recipe, and it keeps the natural fruit flavor and texture. It took one hour from bush to jar.

You will need:
Fresh blackberries (or other fruit)
Sugar with pectin added
Jars and lids

I found sugar with added pectin here in France, and the general rule is that the U.S. has way more "convenience" goods than we get here, so am sure you can buy it there. The one I used has a sugar-cane base. Pectin is what makes your jam set, so it's pretty vital.

Sterilizing jars: Wash jars and lids well. Place the clean jars in a large pot with water covering them. Boil the jars for 10 minutes. While the jars are boiling you can prepare the jam. Turn the water off on the jars and allow them to remain in the water while you finish preparing the jam.

Using my magic jam sugar, the following recipe made two jars:

4 cups rinsed blackberries
1 1/2 cups magic jam sugar (80 percent the weight of your fruit)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or kirsch (optional)
Big dash cinnamon (optional)

Making the jam: Dump all ingredients in a large, thick-bottomed pot (each too much jam and you'll become thick-bottomed!). Over medium-high heat, stir the mixture until it begins to boil. As it cooks, more liquid will come out, so don't worry if it doesn't look like jam yet. Boil gently, stirring and scraping the bottom well, for seven minutes.

When the jam is ready to pour into the jar, remove the jar from the water with tongs, allowing the hot water to drain back into the pot. Fill the jar with jam, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the rim with a clean towel. Twist the lid on, then turn the jar upside-down for five minutes to sterilize the lid. Flip the jars back over to cool completely. Once cooled, the lid should be tight and flat, which means it is properly sealed.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Back with bagels

One week before going to the US I broke down and made bagels in France. They're just so good...and we had cream cheese in the fridge mocking me.

This is my second attempt at bagels, and I think the key is in the kneading. Since it's such a heavy dough, you have to knead, knead, knead until it's smooth and elastic. Other than that, it's a pretty simple recipe. There are lots of steps, but none are complicated.

Did you know that bagels were first created by a Jewish baker in Vienna in 1683 as gifts to the king of Poland who had protected them form Turkish invaders?

Bagels Fait Maison recipe here.

Nectarine & peach gelato

This recipe serves two on a hot afternoon.

4-5 peaches and nectarines, peeled and pitted
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup yogurt

Place peaches and nectarine pieces in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place pieces in a food processor with the sugar. Blend for 15 seconds. Add the yogurt and pulse until smooth. Pour mixture into a container and re-freeze another 20 minutes, or until the consistency you want. If it freezes too hard, blend again before serving.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Poire & pomme bread

This quick bread is made with fresh pear (poire) and apple (pomme) for a subtle, sweet taste.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce or apple juice
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded pear
1 cup shredded apple
1 cup chopped pecans (opt)
1 cup raisins (opt)

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the oil, eggs, grated pears and apples, pecans, and vanilla. Blend well. Add to well of dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Spoon batter into two greased and floured 8x5x3 inch loaf pans.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree F (165 degrees C) oven for one hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before removing from the loaf pans.

Apple chicken curry

Not too spicy, but lots of warm curry flavor.

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 apples - peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
dash cinnamon
dash dried red pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup hot chicken broth (or 1 cup water + 1 bouillon cube)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
salt and pepper to taste
hot rice
Chopped green onions

Saute apple and onion in butter until tender. Add curry powder and seasonings, then saute 1 minute more. Add flour and continue to cook 1 minute longer. Add broth, milk and raisins; stir well. Let simmer 15 minutes. Serve over hot rice with freshly snipped green onions.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Summer potato salad

A lighter summer potato salad that goes great with anything barbecued or grilled. Serves 6.

6 large potatoes
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 chopped hard-boiled eggs (optional)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup light cream (15%)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
pepper to taste
Fresh chives, snipped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, light cream, lemon juice, mustard, and sugar. Add onions, chives and seasonings. Stir in eggs, if desired.

Pour lemon dressing over potatoes, and stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blackberry peach cobbler

2 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 handfuls blackberries
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 recipe Southern Girl's biscuits

Toss fruit with cinnamon sugar then pour into baking dish. Dot with butter. Drop biscuit mix onto fruit by spoonfuls. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until gold and bubbly.

Late night chocolate-chips

1 c butter (or ½ c butter + ½ c margarine)
¾ c sugar
¾ c brown sugar

Add, beating well:

2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Mix separately, then add:

2 ¼ c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt

Stir in :
2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until light brown. Allow cookies to cool on a baking sheet for five minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Quinoa blackberry pancakes

Mix in a large bowl:
1 c flour
2 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
pinch t salt

In a second bowl, mix:
1 1/3 c buttermilk
1 egg (beaten)
2 T oil

Add wet ingredient to dry and mix. Stir in:
2 handfuls blackberries
1 cup quinoa (cooked)

Cook in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, flipping once.